Reel Shorts | The Incredible Hulk

12 06 2008

Fresh off of the runaway success of “Iron Man,” the suits over at Marvel try to wash the foul taste of 2003’s Ang Lee stinker, “Hulk” from moviegoers memories. The updated reincarnation, “The Incredible Hulk,” not only succeeds but has the comic book titan poised for a record-breaking summer.

Using “Iron Man’s” winning blueprint, “The Incredible Hulk” uses the film’s beginning credits to catch the audience up on Bruce Banner’s (Ed Norton) whereabouts since we last saw him. After his experiment goes haywire, Banner is now holed up in the City of God, somewhere in Brazil. As the film counts his “days without incident,” Banner is living incognito and working at a Brazilian soda distribution plant while taking martial arts lessons learning to control his explosive and volatile temper.

Soon, his former associate-turned-rival, General Ross (William Hurt) discovers his whereabouts and assembles a team led by an eager Russian operative, Blonsky (Tim Roth) to bring our favorite fugitive back. Featuring chase scenes that would make Jason Bourne proud, Banner transforms until the green menace and destroys the soft-drink factory with the quickness.

Suffering the effects overexposure to gamma rays, Banner lives in hiding looking not for a cure, but a means to rid himself of his unfortunate affliction. Pining for his lady love, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), he discovers that she has moved on with her life – that is until she discovers that Banner is alive and well. Their interaction and subsequent wooing slow down the pace of the film, slightly and much of that tender interaction is setup for a key plot point later in the film.

Salvation awaits from a scientist Banner is working with online who identifies himself as Mr. Blue (Tim Blake Nelson). While Banner wants to shed his green identity, General Ross wants to create a group of “super soldiers” using the technology that afflicts Banner. He finds a willing subject in the power-hungry Blonsky who volunteers to take the agonizingly painful injections that will turn him Banner’s chief rival, The Abomination.

Beneath his mean green persona, Norton’s Hulk is a lovelorn, conflicted man who can’t seem to find peace – or get any, for that matter. It seems that Banner cannot get too excited, which probably explains why he spends so much time brooding. Spending much of his time raging against the machine represented by General Ross, Banner is a man on the run with no place to call home. Displaying real anguish and torture, Norton infuses his character with much needed depth and a sense of complexity that is perfect for this film.

On top of that “The Incredible Hulk” is an action adrenaline rush that packs huge wallop for filmgoers. One of my favorite scenes showed that even a police squad could be used to the Hulk’s advantage in a showdown. It clear to see that first in “Iron Man” and now in “The Incredible Hulk” that the technology has caught up with comics imagination to create images not possible just a short time ago.

Paying tender homage to the original series, the film features awe-inspiring special effects, dynamic booming sound effects and cool cameos by Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno and Robert Downey, Jr.

It appears that Marvel is pulling out all of the stops creating a foundation for a mega “Avengers” film. While “The Incredible Hulk,” falls just a shade below “Iron Man,” this latest offering is more than solid enough to not only make people forget that earlier abomination whose name we don’t speak, but will also make a boatload of Hulk’s favorite color, green, at the box office.

Grade: B+




4 responses

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